2020-Paramedics join the cause

Student paramedics join NHS COVID-19 emergency

Mon, 13 Apr 2020 11:52:00 BST
Caitlin Kelly
Caitlin Kelly

Students on Scotland’s only full-time undergraduate degree course in paramedic science started work with the Scottish Ambulance Service in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic this week.

Ninety-five students on the BSc Paramedic Science programme at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have joined the COVID-19 NHS emergency response.

The third-year students are based at the new NHS Louisa Jordan medical facility at the Glasgow SEC site, on the banks of the River Clyde.

A total of 32 first-year and 35 second-year students are being employed as ambulance care assistants and 28 third-year students are being taken on as ambulance technicians.

BSc Paramedic Science Programme Lead Samantha Paterson, from the University’s School of Health and Life Science College of Paramedics, said: “We are very proud that 95 of our students across all years are going into employment with the Scottish Ambulance Service to assist in the COVID-19 emergency.

“We work very closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service and much of the training is very hands-on so they are well prepared for the workplace.

“For all the students, it has been a massive upheaval for them and a rapid rate of change, so thank you to all of them for their patience and bearing with us.

“A message for those students going into employment is just ‘stay safe, learn lots and we will see you in September or when you qualify’.

“For those who can’t go into employment because of family commitments, please don’t worry, just keep going. We absolutely value your commitment and contribution to the programme at this time as well. We are still here for all of you.”

The Scottish Ambulance Service thanked the students for their support during the coronavirus pandemic NHS emergency.

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “We are very thankful for the student paramedics offering their support in these challenging times. This is an unprecedented situation and the support we have received right across the country has been amazing. If we all work together we can manage the impact of this virus in Scotland.”

Sam explained that the students had received induction training from the Scottish Ambulance Service on local policies and procedures, particularly in relation to COVID-19, to prepare them for their new important roles.

She added: “At the moment the third-year students’ contracts are all for working out of the Louisa Jordan site as technicians. They have had lots of placements so they’ve had plenty of exposure to working in the ambulance service.

 “The first and second-year students will be involved in the non-emergency patient transport service as ambulance care assistants. 

“We are the only paramedic provider for the degree in Scotland at the moment. Our third-year students are only four months away from being fully qualified so the training they’ve done in the last three years at GCU has put them in a position where the ambulance service is able to employ them as ambulance technicians.”


Caitlin Kelly, 26, is one of the Glasgow Caledonian University third-year BSc Paramedic Science students starting work this week with the Scottish Ambulance Service to help in the COVID-19 emergency response.

She will be based at the new NHS Louisa Jordan makeshift hospital at the Glasgow SEC site which will eventually be able to hold around 1,000 COVID-19 patients.

Caitlin, from Johnstone, Renfrewshire, said her three-year course has prepared her well for any emergency and is looking forward to working with the Scottish Ambulance Service during the coronavirus epidemic.

She said: “I am just so glad I can help and be involved in this emergency because it’s what I’ve worked towards for the last three years.

“I feel a little nervous which is to be expected but answering emergencies and never knowing what the next call is going to be is why I wanted to be a paramedic in the first place, it’s part of the job.

“I feel confident and well-prepared. We’ve trained for many different emergency scenarios and had time on the road with the ambulance service responding to 999 calls during my three-year course. The education and hands-on training really stands me in good stead.

“I’ve really enjoyed the course and it made me realise this is what I want to do. Being able to help out in a national emergency makes me feel very proud.

“All the support and training from my mentor at GCU has helped me greatly feel ready to help out during this time.”